Singapore is a vibrant city that is filled with exciting things to do. I have visited this city a number of times now, and each time I always find even more things to do in Singapore.
Singapore offers a perfect balance between its cultural history and modern times. As you explore, you’ll find gorgeous old heritage buildings living in harmony amongst modern skyscrapers. Its buildings are so well maintained – many cities around the world can learn from what Singapore has done. Plus, it’s a wonderful melting pot of so many different cultures, which has influenced the way this city has been shaped… especially its food (yum!).
And what I love most about Singapore is how clean and green the city is. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that you are in a city when there is so much greenery around. This city has its own “Greenery Master Plan,” which aims to create Singapore as the City in a Garden. Singapore has taken so much pride in the greenery of the city that everywhere you look, its nature is so well groomed.
Here is my list of the top 22 things to do in Singapore, but this is by no means the only things to do. What I have included below are my more favourite things to do.
1. Explore Marina Bay Sands
The one thing that never fails to amaze me on every visit to Singapore is the grandeur of Marina Bay Sands. There are many areas around the bay to soak in this amazing piece of architecture. My favourite spot to see Marina Bay Sands, or MBS as locals will refer to it, is from across the bay where the Fullerton Bay Hotel is located.
You can marvel over Marina Bay Sands (MBS) from a distance, but there is also quite a bit to do at MBS itself. Here are my top 8 things to do at Marina Bay Sands.
2. Explore the Gardens by the Bay
The Gardens by the Bay is made up of 101 hectares of garden and contains more than 500,000 species of plants. It is located just behind Marina Bay Sands.
If you don’t have much time in Singapore, then a trip to Gardens by the Bay is a must on your list of things to do in Singapore. There are various attractions worth seeing while you are here, so it is a good idea to give yourself at least 3-4 hours to explore.
3. Have a Cocktail (or 2) at 28 Hong Kong Street
Deemed as Asia’s number 1 bar for 2016 (and 7th in the world), 28 Hong Kong Street is definitely worth a visit. But on any day, make sure you make a booking, because it does get busy.
28 Hong Kong Street is a quaint little bar, serving up some of the best cocktails I have had. You can read more about my experience at 28 Hong Kong Street here.
4. Discover the Fullerton Bay area
Fullerton Bay is just a stones throw away from Marina Bay Sands. In fact, it is directly across the bay from MBS. I love this area too because it is a fantastic vantage point to watch the MBS light show in the evenings. It is also plays host to many fantastic cafes, restaurants and bars.
If you want a good bar, with great views of MBS at night, then head to Kinki Bar at Custom’s House, which is next to the Fullerton Bay Hotel.
5. Say Hello to Singapore’s Merlion
You can’t come to Singapore and not grab a photo with Merlion. In Singapore, there are various Merlions you can visit, but the most famous one sits across from Marina Bay Sands around the Fullerton Bay area.
This is another great vantage point to watch the MBS light show in the evening. Keep in mind that on the weekends this spot gets super packed.
6. Grab Satay at Lau Pa Sat
So after all that exploring, you’re probably hungry by now. What better way to end the day then with some delicious freshly grilled satay.
In the evening, the street in front of the Telok Alar Food Centre closes off from traffic and turns it into a night food market. They have become infamous for their satay. You’ll find various satay stands in the area, and some will even claim they’re the most famous etc. But to be honest, they’re all pretty much the same.
My favorite is the traditional chicken satay, but you can also grab meats such as beef, mutton, duck and prawn. Just choose your pick. And when you’ve had enough satay, this area also offers great grilled seafood and other traditional foods.
7. Visit the National Gallery of Singapore
The architecture of the National Gallery, as well as its surrounding buildings are impressive. It houses the largest collection of artwork from around Singapore and Southeast Asia. The building was the former City Hall and Supreme Court Building, and you can see remnants of this.
Some exhibitions are free to enter, while some you will need to pay an entry fee if you are not a Singaporean citizen or PR holder. Even if you don’t want to pay to see an exhibition, it is still worth visiting this amazing architecture. I also really loved the gallery shop “Gallery & Co.” because of its fantastic collection of products supporting various Singaporean and Southeast Asian designers.
8. Visit the ArtScience Museum
The ArtScience Museum is located in the flower like structure located at MBS. The place offers unique exhibitions, which combines elements of art and science. Currently there is an exhibition called “Future of the World” that has become a permanent feature. You can read more about the ArtScience Museum here.
9. Eat Chicken Rice at Maxwell Road Hawker Centre
In Singapore, each Food Centre offers its ‘speciality.’ If you were to ask a Taxi driver “what is the best food centre in Singapore?”… they will usually reply with “what type of food are you looking for?”
Just as Lau Pa Sat is known for their satay, Maxwell Road Hawker Centre is known for their chicken rice. Most stalls will offer a choice between roast or steamed chicken – my preference is roast chicken, but if you want a bit healthier, go for the steamed chicken. It’s delicious and affordable.
10. See beautiful Orchids at the Botanical Gardens
When you arrive at Changi Airport, you’ll be greeted with orchids, because it is the national flower of Singapore. If you want to see an impressive botanical garden, then head to the one in Singapore because it is well kept, organised and a great nature break away from the concrete jungle that is the city.
As mentioned earlier, Singapore takes so much pride in their greenery and the Botanical Gardens is no exception. Plus, it’s free to enter – what better incentive to go!
11. Escape into Nature at MacRitchie Reservoir
If you are looking to get healthy and fit while in Singapore, head to MacRitchie Reservoir for a walk or jog. The total distance is about 11km, but there are various shorter distance treks you can take. The best would be to trek towards the Tree Top walk, which is a 250m canopy that sits in the middle of MacRitchie Reservoir.
The best time to go is either in the morning or late afternoon, otherwise it will get too hot.
12. Cool Down with an Ice Kacang
Singapore can get quite hot and no matter how much water you drink, sometimes you just need that little bit extra to cool you down. So why not have a traditional Singaporean-Malaysian dessert, the Ice Kacang.
Most food centres will offer this delicious dessert and will include different ingredients depending on the vendor. Ice Kacang is quite similar to the cendol dessert you find in Melaka. It literally is shaved ice over ingredients such as jelly, red bean and/or corn, plus various syrups.
I prefer mine a bit simpler – shaved ice over jelly with Gula Melaka (palm sugar syrup) and evaporated milk. Usually most vendors are pretty flexible – just ask them what ingredients they put in and advise if there is anything you don’t want included.
13. Enjoy an Evening Out at Clarke Quay
Clarke Quay offers visitors a huge range of restaurants, cafes and bars. It’s got a great atmosphere that plays right into the night. Clarke Quay also boasts great views of the Singapore River, especially from the many riverfront restaurants.
14. Grab an Ice Cream Wafer
All around Singapore, especially where there is high foot traffic, you’ll find these mobile carts selling sliced ice cream in between two wafers – similar to an ice cream sandwich. The ice cream should cost between S$1-2 and come in a range of flavours. My pick – cookies & cream.
15. Enjoy Free Performances at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre
Every Friday to Sunday and public holidays, the Esplanade offers free musical performances in their outdoor theatre. With a fantastic backdrop (Marina Bay Sands), watching the performance is a great way to take a break from sightseeing.
The Esplanade Outdoor Theatre is located a short walk from the Esplanade Mall at Raffles Avenue. If you are coming from Merlion at the bay, then it is just across the pedestrian bridge heading towards the Singapore Flyer.
16. Eat Snow Ice from Mei Heong Yeun (Chinatown)
Snow Ice is a cool dessert that consists of finely (like powdered snow finely) shaved ice, toped with a range of toppings. The dessert is similar in concept to ice kacang, except the ice is much more fine. Mei Heong Yeun serves up delicious snow ice dessert in Chinatown. A great way to cool down from all the sightseeing. They also serve other Chinese desserts worth trying, such as their Mango with Sago.
17. Buy Cheap Souvenirs from Chinatown
Grab you Singapore souvenirs in Chinatown. You’ll find a huge variety of things to buy, plus I found it to be the most affordable place to shop for souvenirs.
18. Indulge in Singapore’s Famous Chilli Crab
Singapore is famous for so many different foods, and one of it is its chilli crab. You’ll have to wear a bib, because it can get a bit messy to eat… but it is oh so yummy. The crab is cooked in a delicious sweet & spicy tomato based sauce. Many restaurants will serve the crab with a side of buns, which is great to soak up the delicious sauce.
I liked the chilli crab from Jumbo Seafood, which you can now find in various locations around Singapore, such as Clarke Quay.
19. Order a Singapore Sling at the Raffles
Did you know that the Singapore Sling was originally created in 1915 at the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel? I mean what better place to have a Singapore Sling than its birthplace. So head over to the Long Bar, which is on the second floor at the Raffles and savour that pink cocktail known as the Singapore Sling.
20. Ride the MRT
Best and cheapest way to get around is using Singapore’s fantastic public transportation system. I especially like riding on the MRT, which is the subway/train system. It’s clean, efficient and easy to travel on. It’s also the most affordable way to get around Singapore
21. Go on a tour with a local
A favourite of mine – Let a local show you around Singapore. It’s a great way to experience Singapore from a local’s perspective. It’ll give you the chance to discover hidden gems that is off the beaten track.
I did a walking tour through WithLocals with two lovely ladies, Summer & Lynn. WithLocals is an online platform that works to connect you with locals who want to offer tours and cultural experiences to travellers in different cities around the world.
22. Grab Mexican Food from Lucha Loco in Duxton Hill
I mean ok, you don’t go to Singapore to eat Mexican food. But the beauty of Singapore is how multi-cultural it is… it is literally filled with top quality food from around the world. And the Mexican food from Lucha Loco is just delicious. My favourite – the Elotes (grilled corn) and the Baja Fish taco… yum!
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